From My Archives: Performance Checklists by Odin Westgaard

Performance Checklists – from Odin Westgaard – originally published in 4-parts in my quarterly CADDI Newsletter in 2001/2002

From Guy Wallace’s 2011 Blog

Checklists are, perhaps, the most common and the most ancient devices used to promote learning. As such, I suspect many people in our profession tend to snub them and look for more esoteric and/or technical ways to help clients. Understand I’m not against technology. Far from it, I believe it should be used to design, develop, and implement (guess what) performance checklists and a plethora of other types of interventions. Technology can make this old reliable tool even more valuable. But right now, the central issue is a working definition. What is a performance checklist?


On the surface of things it seems simple. A checklist is a series of steps or phases presented in one way or another that one can use to document whether or not something is as it should (or should not) be.

My dictionary says, “A list in which items can be compared, scheduled, verified, or identified.”

I like that definition. It provides insight into the flexibleness and variability of this tool. Whether it’s a performance checklist or some other kind, any checklist has these attributes. They can be used to compare one thing with another as in “this is how it should be, how is it?”. They can be used to schedule things. An itinerary for a trip is a sort of checklist. They can be used to verify. Preflight checklists used by airlines verify that the machine is ready to fly. They can be used to identify. “Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, must be a duck.”

Although many applications don’t fit our preconceived notions of what checklists look like, they are, indeed, checklists.

For the rest of this (original) 4-part series – in one 14 page PDF – please click:  Odin Westgaard – Performance Checklists

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One thought on “From My Archives: Performance Checklists by Odin Westgaard

  1. Timely…

    Roger Kaufman, Ph.D., CPT, ABPP, Professor Emeritus, Florida State University,

    Fellow, American Psychological Association, Fellow, American Educational Research Association.

    1123 Lasswade Drive, Tallahassee, Florida 32312;

    Email: or; or

    Phone: 850-386-6621 or 850-386-6874; FAX: 850 422-2722.

    I am honored that The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) has created the Roger Kaufman Award for the continual achievement of measurable positive societal impact by an individual or organization”.

    Please see any of my 41 books on


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